The Friday E-Pistle (Jan. 2, 2015)

A message from Bishop Vásquez

Official appointments

  • Rev. David Trahan has been appointed as parochial vicar of St. Mary, Church of the Assumption in West, effective Jan. 1, 2015.
  • Bishop Vásquez has accepted the resignation of Rev. Thomas Chamberlain as Spiritual Adviser for the Cursillo Movement in the Diocese of Austin and has appointed Rev. Aloysius Nzekwe, MSP, to succeed him in that position effective Jan. 1, 2015.  Bishop Vásquez is grateful to Father Chamberlain for the years of dedicated service he has provided to the Cursillo Movement.

Pastoral Plan Update

In the coming months, a multi-level consultation process will be used to develop an Implementation Plan that will provide guidance for individuals, parishes and the diocese on how to embrace the goals of the plan. On Feb. 28, the diocese will host the largest consultation for the priests, their selected parish leaders and ministry group leaders at St. John Vianney Parish in Round Rock. This will include a prayerful reflection process led by Bishop Joe Vásquez and Dominic Perri from Essential Conversations. Parishioners and other groups will have an opportunity to participate in a similar process at regional gatherings during the months of March and April. The Core Team is securing locations for these gatherings which will be held from 7 to 9 p.m. in English and Spanish. Visit the diocesan website for the Pastoral Plan to get up-to-date information.


Reflection question

Gospel Meditation

Please consider using the following meditation for the second Sunday in Ordinary Time (Jan. 18):

  • In today’s Gospel, Andrew led his brother Peter to Jesus. Who are the people in your life who led you to Christ? Thank God for these people.
  • En el Evangelio de hoy, Andrés lleva a su hermano Pedro a Jesús ¿Quiénes son las personas en su vida que lo han llevado a usted a Cristo? Agradezca a Dios por esas personas.


Catholic Charities of Central Texas

Volunteers needed

Catholic Charities of Central Texas will be participating in the Austin/Travis County Point-in-Time count of the unsheltered homeless population. Volunteers are needed to help staff this important community event. More than 500 volunteers are needed on Jan. 24 from 5 to 8 a.m.

  • Volunteers may pick from three available shifts, but we are trying to coordinate Catholic Charities volunteers for Shift 2 so that we may be placed on teams together. Click here to sign up.
  • All volunteers are required to attend a 2-hour training before the event (details on the registration website).
  • Put Catholic Charities of Central Texas in the comment box to be placed on a team with other Catholic Charities staff/volunteers (not guaranteed).
  • Please let Allison Cavazos know if you sign up so that we can measure the impact of our Catholic Charities volunteers. We'll also be meeting up for breakfast after the count, so we will send that information once we have our locations determined.


Cedarbrake Catholic Retreat Center

Feb. 6-8: Fireside Reflection: I Begin Now!

I Begin Now! Three simple words to remind us to live in the present time in the “presence of God.” If we take time to ponder and be aware, life can teach us many lessons. Brian Egan, Beverly Collin and Father Angelo Bertini will present this weekend retreat at Cedarbrake Catholic Retreat Center in Belton. Cost is $160 shared room, $195 private room, $85 commuter rate. To register, call (254) 780-2436 or e-mail

Feb. 18: Ash Wednesday

The real sign of Lent is not the ashes but the cross. Jesus says, “If anyone wants to become my followers, let them deny themselves, take up their cross and follow me” (Mk 8:35). Begin this Lenten journey by coming to Cedarbrake Catholic Retreat Center in Belton and reflecting on the challenges Jesus lays before us. We will begin with Mass and the distribution of ashes. Brian Egan, Beverly Collin and Father Angelo Bertini will present this retreat. Cost is $35 and includes lunch. Click here to register.


Stewardship and Development

PDS update

Parish conversions will resume in January. An updated conversion schedule is posted at You can also register online for training for PDS ChurchOffice as well as the auxiliary modules. An important reminder to parishes that they have two weeks to review their data once it is converted.


Ethics & Integrity in Ministry Office

Called to Protect for Youth facilitator training

On Jan. 31, the Ethics and Integrity in Ministry Office will train new facilitators for the Called to Protect for Youth program (the abuse prevention/education program for middle/high school students). The training is from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.  Once trained, the frequency and location of workshops that facilitators choose to do is up to the individual facilitator. Note: Parishes and schools in the Diocese of Austin are required to provide the Called to Protect for Youth program annually for their sixth and ninth graders; students in other middle and high school grades new to the parish/school should also be invited to attend. It is recommended that all parishes/Catholic schools have an in-house facilitator, or one with whom they regularly work, in order to simplify the scheduling of the program at the parish/school.

Contact Emily Hurlimann, Coordinator of the Office of Ethics & Integrity in Ministry to learn more and to receive a copy of the simple New Facilitator Application.


Weekly notes

Pope Francis’ prayer intentions

Please consider Pope Francis’ prayer intentions for the month of January:

  • That those from diverse religious traditions and all people of good will may work together for peace …
  • Para que quienes pertenecen a tradiciones religiosas diversas y todos los hombres de buena voluntad colaboren en la promoción de la paz ...
  • That in this year dedicated to consecrated life, religious men and women may rediscover the joy of following Christ and strive to serve the poor with zeal …
  • Para que en este año dedicado a la vida consagrada, los religiosos y las religiosas redescubran la alegría de seguir a Cristo y se dediquen con celo al servicio de los pobres ...

Bishop Vásquez’ prayer intention

Please consider Bishop Vasquez' prayer intention for the Second Week in Ordinary Time (Jan. 18):

  • For the young people of our diocese and their chaperones who are gathered at the Diocesan Catholic Youth Conference in Waco …
  • Por la gente joven de nuestra diócesis y sus chaperones que se encuentran reunidos en la Conferencia Católica Juvenil Diocesana en Waco...


Ethics and Integrity in Ministry

Upcoming EIM Basic and Refresher Workshops

EIM Basic and Refresher Workshops are scheduled on a quarterly basis by the EIM Office, coordinating with the EIM site administrator at parishes, schools and other diocesan agencies. Staff of any site wishing to host a workshop must coordinate with their EIM site administrator. The EIM site administrator should make all workshop requests on the Workshop Request Table. Additional workshops will not be added to the EIM workshop calendar unless the EIM Office determines a particular need. EIM site administrators may direct inquiries about EIM workshop scheduling to Emily Hurlimann in the EIM Office at (512) 949-2400.

For general information about EIM Basic or Refresher workshops, please click here.

Anyone needing an EIM workshop will sign up online through their EIM account. The sign-up process is explained once you access your EIM account; please contact your parish or Catholic school EIM site administrator if you need assistance or if you do not have Internet access.

Click here to login to your EIM account in order to find the schedule of EIM workshops and to sign up. Instructions are provided in case you do not recall how to login to your EIM account.

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